Tuesday, December 27, 2011

Mom's Birth Stories: Third of Eleven

The following is my Mom's third birth story. For a little background, check out my first post about this new series, Mom's Birth Stories, her First Birth Story and Second Birth Story.

Her story is broken into 4 sections: Pregnancy, Labour and Delivery, Breastfeeding and Reflections. I have also provided some of my comments and reflections at the end.

When I finished nursing my second baby at 6 months I became pregnant that same month with baby number 3. Our plan was to have a third child whenever pregnancy happened following weaning but didn’t expect it to happen right away. The irony is that when the doctor had to figure out my due date he had no period to go by since I hadn’t had one for 15 months. Instead he went by my weaning date and presto! came up with June 10, 1975 as a due date on which baby #3 was born!

Labour and Delivery
I had false labour a week before he was due and spent three days in the hospital waiting for it to start up again. Turned out I needed my doctor’s release but no one told him I was in so finally I asked when he was coming in and he came & gave his consent to let me go. That was depressing seeing all those new Moms and babies and nothing happening to me.

Friends encouraged me to have an epidural so not knowing if this might be my last baby (big joke) I decided to be easy on myself and get one. It took three attempts to put the needle in the right place in my spine and that was during intense labour when I had to curl up. Baby was born shortly after. I didn’t feel any pain, but could feel him being born. There was a moment of panic when they yelled they had seconds to get him out since he was transverse and needed to be turned. I think the doctor just turned him by hand, but I don’t know if he used forceps? Baby was a little blue due to lack of oxygen so he was taken to the neonatal floor for a few hours but they assured me all would be fine after he was given some oxygen. Again the doctor broke my membranes to help with the delivery. Again I was in the hospital for 5 days and husbands weren’t coming in the delivery room yet. Again the doctor cut an episiotomy. The nurses told me I bruised badly and was a little sore but they thought it was brutal. Baby boy's (#3) time of birth was 10:02 am. The labour length was 5 hours. His weight was 7 lbs. 12 ozs. 

Breastfeeding began the same day.  I'm pretty sure this is when the nurses told me to do demand feeding. "Nurse when baby was hungry." I only nursed him for two months because there was a lot going on like feeding a gang of men who were working on the new free stall barn and housing two hired hands plus hosting two bridal showers for sister-in-laws. The stress and ridiculous work load probably was to blame for me getting my period at that time. I couldn't nurse comfortably with strangers in the home and I didn't know enough about nursing more often to stabilize my hormones so I weaned baby #3 early to better monitor my cycle so as to family plan a larger space before the next baby would be conceived.

Mom's Reflections
The best part was my good health and baby’s health. The worst part was the freezing coming out from the epidural (tingling in my legs ) which I couldn’t move to relieve. I started to cry and my husband said don’t cry now it’s all over but I really hated the feeling so I made up my mind never to have an epidural again! (Not to mention the known risk of being paralyzed for life.). It was exciting to see the reactions of big brother and sister when we brought baby 3 home. At that time we had three all under three years old. They were too young to be jealous and we emphasized that the baby was theirs too.

My Reflections
I wish they would just stop with the episiotomies already! That makes me cringe every time. And still, my Mom was all on her own in the delivery room. She did not have a great experience with her epidural and I can attribute her stories to the reason why I was so sworn off medications during birth before I even started my family.  She said she was very shaky and didn't even feel comfortable holding her baby for fear of dropping him.  It sounded horrible to me and I swore never to put myself through that either.  Spoiler alert: this was in fact her one and only epidural. She said never again and I'm happy for her that she stuck to her plan.

Breastfeeding obviously didn't go as well this time around. I couldn't even imagine the stress she went through at that time with 3 children under 3, hosting and feeding (on strict schedules) 2 hired hands and all of the other events (bridal showers and then weddings). These days women are encouraged to surround themselves with support in order to establish breastfeeding.  You really need to have a "breastfeeding babymoon".  She had the opposite. All three babies drank cow's milk immediately upon weaning. On the farm the milk is much like whole milk, but always boiled first to kill bacteria.

I have to laugh every time Mom says they were planning on having three children originally. We have 8 more stories to go! And, in case you need help in keeping tabs:

Baby #1 - Boy - October 5, 1972
Baby #2 - Girl - February 24, 1974
Baby #3 - Boy - June 10, 1975


  1. Dear Lord, your mother is an IRON WOMAN. She is seriously inspirational. I had a similar experience with my one and only epidural, and I like your mom's advice on that front - it's a lot harder to go through than they make it seem. And the episiotomies! They make me cringe, too. It amazes me how your mother seems to have been able to be right back up and at 'em after the episiotomies. I had one with my first birth and literally could not sit down properly for five weeks afterwards. I feel like a weakling :).

  2. Lynn, I'm sure she did not recover easily either...I will ask about that too. However, she wasn't ever given time to recover so I guess you do what you can and in in her case she couldn't let it stop her :(

  3. I've edited the Labour and Delivery section to reflect her experience with false labour.